Lucas Viveiros | Report
It was a game that coach Babcock and the Maple Leafs would like to flush and forget, as their offense was stymied by the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night, dropping the result 2-0.
This match up seemed like a trap for the Leafs from the outset, as far too often Toronto seems to simmer down their level of play when playing against lesser opponents, and this game was a perfect example of that.
All night long the Yotes frustrated the Maple Leafs shooters by not allowing them a lot of time and space to make plays and take their chances. Auston Matthews especially seemed annoyed, as this was to be his homecoming against his favourite boyhood team, but him and his teammates failed to create any offense.
Coming into the game, Arizona was highly recognized for their elite level penalty kill, which has ranked first in the NHL for the majority of the season, and they made sure to kill off the one opportunity the Leafs had on the man advantage.
Both goals in the game came in the middle period, starting with former Canadien Alex Galchenyuk’s marker on a nice deflection alone in front to get the ice-breaker. The goal came just 3:19 into the second, and the Leafs had created nothing to be proud of at this point.
Under three minutes later, Arizona was pressuring again looking for that two goal cushion, and they would eventually find it in the form of a Josh Archibald tally, as he was left all alone streaking down the slot. At this point, Toronto had mustered a mere five shots on net, and their confidence seemed to have been shot.
The remainder of the hockey game would be played in the neutral zone, with the exception of an extra man push in the final three minutes of the game, but Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper would stand his ground, as the Coyotes would take the game 2-0.
Revisit the game’s highlights below.
Next, the Maple Leafs will have some time off before taking on the red hot Jordan Binnington and the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Puck drop is set for 8:00pm from the Enterprise Center, and can be seen on Sportsnet Ontario.
More news from the ice
- This game marked the 100th match between the two franchises, which dates back to 1979 prior to the Coyotes existing, as they were known as the original Winnipeg Jets
- With the loss, the Leafs were leapfrogged in the standings by the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division and now trail them by one point
- Tyler Ennis returned to the lineup in exchange for Andreas Johnsson who continues to be day-to-day with a leg injury
- Mitch Marner needs just one point to become the 4th fastest player in Maple Leafs history to start his career with 200 points
- Former Leaf forward Richard Panik was out with an illness for the Coyotes
Out of town scoreboard
Saturday, February 16
Detroit 5 Philadelphia 6 (OT)
Calgary 5 Pittsburgh 4
St. Louis 3 Colorado 0
Ottawa 4 Winnipeg 3 (OT)
Montreal 0 Tampa Bay 3
Edmonton 2 NY Islanders 5
Dallas 0 Carolina 3
Columbus 5 Chicago 2
Nashville 1 Vegas 5
Vancouver 2 San Jose 3
Boston 4 Los Angeles 2
More coverage to follow. Image from The Toronto Star.